9.17.2011

bodymore, body less, either way i ain't skipping breakfast

One exciting way a cockroach gets to enter your home is through your bathtub drain. I feel like this would be such a fun way to visit friends! But I am too big to fit. So instead I watch The Wire and tweet that I can’t tell whether the sirens are from the show or the world. In other words, I am a white person living in Baltimore. The farmer at the 32nd street market showed me a photo of a tree base he’d painted to look like an elephant foot.

Besides living in Baltimore, what I've been doing is looking at the time and thinking "if it is 5PM here, it is 4AM in Thailand." This is fun because you don't need any special uniform to do this, just something that tells you the time and someone in Thailand you love and miss a lot. Been talking to Carrot Cake on Skype and it's very futuristic! She's in Bangkok, where the travel clinics are open weird hours and one whole floor of a seven floor mall is a food court with directions like: "For Islamic vegetarian food, see C4. For Brazilian liquid-based desserts, see H9." I miss her, but I am excited for her adventuring.

In criticism news, Mark Cugini's students think I'd be a miserable relationship partner based on their reading of "Is That It's You." One of them said "It sounds like Mr. Young does not approve of love." Which is strictly untrue: I prove love all the time, with a beaker and a stylish bevy of equations.

More thanks are due this week to the champ-ass* (*like bad-ass except better) Barry Graham for his review of Look! Look! Feathers at The Collaigst. I haven't got the chance to read the rest of the new Collagist yet, but I am really excited for something called "In the Time of the Blue Ball." Here is the first paragraph of Barry's review:
If Mike Young told me he grew up in a suburban castle full of lawyers and lion tamers and medicine men, or that he was raised on the edge of the ocean, the adopted son of a snake charmer father and truck-driving mother whose real parents escaped a cult and left him on the front porch of an orphanage, I would believe him. If he told me he grew up the son of uneducated peasants who drank and gambled and whipped their pets and their children equally, I would believe that too. That how's convincing his prose is. Young writes with authority. His voice and his words and his sentences feel earned, authentic.

Barry, you were so close. I grew up in a castle made of tamed lawyers on the edge of an uneducated snake. My parents were a front porch and a whip. Together we drove every day in a truck to an orphanage, where we gambled away children in exchange for medicine and shares in authoritative cults.

Speaking of cults, I read part of a long thing I wrote called The Age of the Tire Boat in NYC (this was in the Center of Fiction, which had beautiful balustrades) and here is me reading the whole thing for Peter Cavanaugh's awesome audio mag Tulip: http://tulipparlor.com/issuetwo. Thanks, Peter! Other cool peeps in the issue include Gian Ditrapano, Eylsia Smith, Galen Dekemper, Tyler Gobble, Sam Edmonds, Eric F Johnson, and Ted Barrow.

Warning: my thing is long to listen to, thirteen minutes and forty-two seconds. 13:42. But I have conference called with Table Mountain and Mt Shasta and Arnold Schwarzenegger and the ghost of John Sutter, and together we have concluded that "The Age of the Tire Boat" is the definitive Northern Sacramento Valley poem-ass thing. Now that it's written, no one else has to ever write about the Northern Sacramento Valley ever again, especially not me. So, yeah, we'll see how that works out. In the meantime, I have tokens in my pocket that will allow me to go back to the 32nd Street Market next weekend and buy Old Bay flavored hummous.

9.04.2011

sometimes i live in the country / sometimes i live in the town

So Irene kept us inside with our beans and bottled water. Only some minor flooding in Northampton, but we missed calamity by a whisker. Very bummed for Vermont, which is full of strange antique barns buried behind weird rivers, and might not be so full of dry ones right now. One story I remember about Vermont is a few activists drove to the woods in search of chupacabras, but one of them was a diabetic and started getting insulin withdrawals, so they had to stop at some strange house and knock on the door. Nobody answered. The diabetic began scratching himself. Then a truck pulled up, and this guy got out carrying a cage with a parrot in it. The activists tried to explain the situation to the guy, but he just held up the parrot cage and grinned. He went inside the house. A few minutes passed. The diabetic was kneeling in the driveway controlling his breath. Then an old woman opened the door and invited everybody in. She led them into the living room, which was full of Nestle crunch bars. "I was just watching my programs, which is why I couldn't hear y'all," she said with a Texas accent. The guy with the parrot was in the kitchen still grinning, still with the parrot cage. Someone told me this story at breakfast one time, but it might as well be a story I made up because I didn't eat enough for breakfast. Good luck, Vermont.


In other news, hoo doggie, so much change. Took my last shower on Orchard Street. Moved to Baltimore. Taught my first class at UMBC. Seems good. I'm very excited to ride the 35 back and forth between UMBC: when I first rode it, there was a new father covered with IT'S A BOY STICKERS and everyone congratulated him/joshed him for having too much sex. There was a jovial mass battle over whether to turn the A/C on. There was a man who gave up his seat for an old man and he sat down next to another man and said "If you don't respect yo elders you ain't got no mowls" and they became friends.

Next Saturday, I'm seeing Jeff Mangum in Boston with my carrot cake as a nice climatic-type event before she goes to Thailand. Kind of can't believe we're doing this. Then we're having a big Bye Bye Have Fun in Thailand party on the 10th anniversary of September 11th, which is much better than a lot of other things to do on the 10th anniversary of September 11th. Kind of weird to think my UMBC students were eight years old when Nine-Eleven became more famous than Seven-Eleven. I remember the first thing I heard about it that day was my mother told me the Weather Channel told her that all planes in the country were grounded.

So speaking of hearing and telling, it turns out I am doing a lot of readings this September! There is one stretch where I'm doing readings three days in a row: three readings and one panel discussion. Kind of nuts. I've made a thing on the right side of the blog to keep track of it all. If you live in NYC or Baltimore, I would love to give you a high five.



Thanks Barry Graham for putting Look! Look! Feathers on this list of his favorite books he's read so far this year. And thanks to him also for this Fab 5 feature he did, where I picked my 5 favorite of my online published stories and also 5 other stories online by others that I really like. Also Tyler Gobble and Layne Ransom's ultimate enthusiasm magazine Stoked just put out Volume II, which is full of great stuff from Matt Hart, Daniela Olszewska, Carol Guess, Nate Pritts, Adam Moorad, Joshua Helms, Thomas Patrick Levy, Christopher Newgent, xTx, Len Kuntz, Parker Tettleton, Nick Ripatrazone, Ryan Rader, Ashley Farmer, and J.A. Tyler. I have a little piece in it talking about how much I was taken by the book Sayonara, Gangsters by Genichiro Takahashi. Do do the checking out if you do that sort of thing.

Wow, hard to believe how much is in the pipeline right now, and that's not even counting the pipeline that people are sitting down about. Let's end on a sad and happy thing and thing: sad is that my sister's dog Sasha is gone. =( My best energy and love her way. The happy thing is this: